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Salisbury VA adopts the Intermediate Care Technician program

SALISBURY— The Salisbury VA’s Intermediate Care Technician program is designed to put former service members back into the field of medical care.

The program began with 45 participants at the end of 2012 and has since grown to more than 300 participants working in the VA system nationally. Salisbury VA participants are located primarily in the emergency department, with eight of them being hired in the previous year.

According to the Salisbury VA, the addition of the workers has led to a decrease in emergency department wait times and an increase in patient satisfaction. The Salisbury VA also says it would like to expand the program to more clinics.

Air Force Veteran Zachary Herion, a recent hire of the ICT program, was placed in the “fast track” of the emergency department to help with urgent care needs.

“We mainly manage the fast track, but our scope lets us do certain procedures that nurses can’t do, such as incisions and drainage,  suturing, and staples,” Herion said.“It definitely speeds it up, the biggest impact we have is on the providers—we save them 20-30 minutes per patient. We could have three Veterans in a row that need these procedures done, and that’s an hour of the provider’s time. This way the ICT’s can do it and the doctors can focus on the more critical patients.”

Assistant Chief Nurse of Acute Care Daryl Atkinson said he’s pleased with the Salisbury VA’s direction toward improving veteran care with ICT workers.

“It was a national initiative and we reached out early to get involved with it,” Atkinson said. “It’s been a very beneficial program. They help improve patient flow significantly with the skills they have acquired through extensive military training.”

According to Associate Director of Patient Care Services Elizabeth, one of the models is to match ICT up with a physician so they can expedite care.

“I hope to grow this program in the future and expand the ICTs to other clinical areas within our medical center,” said Stroup.

 

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